Chronic kidney disease is the modern-day plague in the United States, driven in large part by the nation's obesity epidemic. According to the National Kidney Foundation, 30 million Americans have chronic kidney disease, often due to diabetes and hypertension; that's 1 in 9 adults. More than 510,000 kidney patients are now on dialysis, and over 100,000 are on the kidney transplant list.
The cost of caring for these individuals is staggering. "Medicare alone spends $114 billion annually caring for Americans with all stages of chronic kidney disease," said Kerry Willis, chief medical officer at the National Kidney Foundation. "That doesn't include the costs to the private insurance industry."
Recognizing the trend, an Israeli digital health start-up called Healthy.io has developed an FDA-cleared at-home smartphone urinalysis test to help people test their kidneys for proteins, a sign of damage to the organ. Early detection makes an enormous difference in avoiding complications from kidney disease.
Healthy.io's urinalysis test, Dip.io, uses disposable strips and cups in conjunction with a smartphone camera to read and interpret results. Patients dip a stick in a self-collected urine sample, wait for it to develop, and take a picture of it against a card using the company's app. The image is anonymized and put on the cloud for more detailed diagnostic tests.
The test has been assessed with Geisinger Health in conjunction with the National Kidney Foundation, achieving a 71 percent adherence rate among patients with hypertension who never have been tested before.